Bo Pelini, the last man on Nebraska’s team bus after Saturday’s game at Minnesota, was met by two men ready to give their reaction to the Huskers’ 34-23 loss.
It’s not what you might think.
They were cheering and offering encouragement, said Pelini, who shared the story Monday at his weekly news conference.
“My son looked at me and said, ‘Dad, those are two great fans,’” Pelini said. “I said, ‘You know what, Patrick? That’s the 99 percent.’”
It’s the 1 percent that Pelini warns his players to shield themselves from. The 1 percent that is significantly more vocal and critical, especially on social-media outlets, such as Twitter.
“We live in a day and age where it’s pretty hard to ignore it,” Pelini said. “You have to work hard to stay away from it. You have to discipline yourself to stay away from it. It’s out there. It’s a distraction. It’s noise. It’s outside noise that you want to try and control.”
Offensive tackle Jeremiah Sirles said his Twitter mentions were “probably 99 percent positive” after Saturday’s game.
“Then you have those one or two people who sit at home in their basement, on their couch, and think they’re the best football coach in America, and they tweet you things they have no idea what they’re talking about,” Sirles said. “You just have to ignore those people. Sometimes after a loss, it’s tough. I mean, it’s hard, it’s emotional.”
Sirles' philosophy: Don’t give glory to the 1 percent.
“You want to give the glory to those 15,000 people that came to Minnesota,” he said, referring also to the Husker fans last year at Northwestern and UCLA. “Those are the Husker fans that we enjoy.”
* PADDING UP: Nebraska began practicing on Sundays following its first loss, Sept. 14 against UCLA. Those days are usually lighter workouts, where players are in helmets, shirts and shorts.
Not so last Sunday. Players were told to pad up.
“It was a little different, a little bit more physical than we’re used to on Sunday,” defensive end Randy Gregory said. “But like I said earlier about us not playing physical on Saturday, I think that played into the fact that’s why we were in pads.”
Sirles had no qualms.
“Sometimes it’s nice to do something familiar after a loss like that,” he said. “Sometimes it’s nice to get the pads on, go out there and hit someone, get some frustration out, get back in the groove of things.”
Pelini was pleased, saying the team got some good fundamental work in, as well as an introduction to this week's opponent, Northwestern.
“I think if the guys could’ve played last night, they would’ve played last night,” Pelini said. “I like the way they responded yesterday.”
* GETTING IN SYNC: Nebraska allowed more sacks against Minnesota (four) than it had all season before Saturday (three).
What went wrong?
Well, if you want the short answer, a better question might be what didn’t go wrong.
“Just things that haven’t happened all year just kind of happened,” Sirles said. “I gave up a pressure because they did an inside stunt, I stepped in, I went to kick back out and me and Jake Cotton’s foot got caught with each other.”
Assignment-wise, Sirles said, players were right almost every time.
“Pass protection comes down to technique and want-to,” he said. “There were times we got beat a couple of times, and it’s just hard. It’s hard to let up sacks like that, because it doesn’t matter what quarterback’s back there, no quarterback’s going to feel comfortable in the pocket getting hit as much as Taylor (Martinez) did.”
Pelini said at times, Nebraska was simply beat up front, and other times, Martinez held on to the ball too long. But adding to the problem was too many long-yardage situations.
“The game becomes a lot easier, and it’s a lot easier to become efficient when you are having success on first down,” Pelini said. “That wasn’t necessarily the case. When we stayed ahead of the sticks, we were pretty good the other day. When we took lost-yardage plays and got behind in the count, that’s when you kind of struggle.”
* INJURY UPDATE: Pelini said junior receiver Jamal Turner didn’t practice Sunday because of a lower calf injury. Turner had just returned to full health after battling hamstring injuries over the first half of the season.
Pelini said Turner is day-to-day. That’s the same status Pelini gave for tight end Jake Long, who’s missed Nebraska’s last two games with a hamstring injury.